Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What's with the Boy Scouts?

What is going on with the Boy Scouts?  The Boy Scouts do not do not allow openly gay adults to be scout leaders.   Some Scout councils have defied the ban and have been threatened with having their council removed from Scouting.  Robert Gates, the national president of the Boy Scouts of America, has suggested that perhaps in the future this ban should be modified to allow for individual councils to decide what is appropriate for them. Notice the national office is not taking a position of non-discrimination.  In 2013, after a very bitter internal debate, the Scouts allowed opening gay youths to be Scouts but have not allowed openly gay adults to be leaders.  A New York BSA chapter has hired an openly gay young man who is also an Eagle Scout to be a summer camp leader.  As of this time BSA have not taken any action.  Gates noted that while BSA could remove the charters of councils that defied the rules, that would hurt the boys who are scouts.   Gates also noted that a number of states prohibit the discrimination of hiring based on sexual orientation.  "Thus between internal battles and potential legal conflicts, the BSA finds itself in an unsustainable position that makes us vulnerable to the possibility the courts simply will order us to at some point to change our membership policy", Gates said.  So Scouting should look at its policies, not because it is the right thing to do but because they could be forced to do the right thing.  Interesting position for an organization that claims the moral high ground.
About 70 percent of Scout units are sponsored by churches.   However it is quite a leap to assume that  those churches would find welcoming gay leaders inconsistent with their faith.
The Boy Scout oath has scouts pledge to help other people at all times.  The Scouting code say that a scout is brave.   How brave is it for troop leaders to continue to discriminate against people for their sexual orientation when over 60% of the country believes that gays should be allowed to marry.  The Scouts need to wake up.
Then there is the situation in Illinois where a couple is suing the Boy Scouts of America Northwest Suburban Council for "improperly and illegally" revoking their son's membership in scouting because he has Asperger's syndrome, a form of high functioning autism.  Their son was a member of the troop for seven years and even became a patrol leader.  The Smiths received a letter which only stated that their son's membership was being revoked because of information received which "compelled" them to revoke the membership.  There is no mention in the letter about what that information was or where it came from.   As a response to the lawsuit the Boy Scouts of America spokesman issued a statement that BSA works to accommodate the needs of Scouts and he would investigate.
Funny how the Boy Scout movement views discrimination as helping people at all times.   A parent would need to look hard and long before exposing his or her son to this kind of helping others. I wouldn't want my son to have his moral compass heading south rather than due north.  
Oh and by the way, Girl Scouts have no such restrictions on the girls or their leaders.  Amazing how that works and Girl Scouting is growing, not so much the guys.  Guess someone is getting wise.

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